After Jesus’ brutal death there is the quiet and stillness of the tomb; Jesus’ dead body was laid in the tomb. We read:
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” (Matthew 28:1)
But there was also the quiet and stillness of the sabbath. The Jewish followers of Jesus entered into the sabbath, which means to cease. There was no activity to distract them as they waited in their griefs and loss.
I’m sure that each one of us has at some point been in a season of waiting. We’ve all felt the pressure of waiting in one way or another; waiting for that phone call about the job, that letter of college acceptance, the news from the doctor after the test, the anticipation before the child came home, and so much more. Waiting is a common experience in life.
But seasons of waiting can be difficult, particularly when we cannot see that anything is happening. It’s not easy to wait for your body to improve while undergoing medical treatment or after recovery from a surgery because you cannot always see the difference on the surface.
It can be difficult to wait for that breakthrough in a friendship or marriage relationship when you still feel the tension even after long conversations or counseling.
Waiting is hard.
Here are these women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the honored and favored first arrivals at the tomb.
What they, and the other disciples, don’t know is that while they were waiting, even while they were asking those “where is God?” questions, when the stone was rolled in front of the tomb, God had not abandoned them. In fact, God was working and was already ahead of them.
In our hunger for real life, even for God to break into our seasons of waiting, the promise of the empty tomb is that even when we cannot see it, God’s work has already begun. Even when we are asking, “where are You, God?”, God is already ahead of us…we often just do not see it. Our eyes are closed, or we are looking in the wrong direction. And then…the stone rolled away…an empty tomb…God was there all along.
Real life is dawning.
The resurrection promises us that even in our waiting God is at work. In fact, while the two Mary’s are walking to the tomb in dread and grief, Jesus has already left the tomb.